Float Therapy and Anxiety/Depression.
At any given time, millions of people all over the world suffer and live with some form of anxiety. An equal number of people also suffer from depression. However, less than half of the sufferers seek treatment while the rest suffer in silence.
While the reasons behind not seeking help vary widely, most people find treatments such as psychotherapy to be intimidating. But with the innovative and alternative therapies being introduced, help is not so far away.
Float therapy is an alternative and relatively new treatment that has been making waves in the field of mental health. Studies have shown promising results when patients with anxiety and/or depression are treated with float therapy.
Float therapy and how it works.
Float therapy is known by different names – sensory deprivation, floating and REST or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. Float therapy is carried out in a tank known as float pods/tanks or deprivation tanks.
The tank is filled with medical-grade Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate. The quantity of the salt can vary between 800 lbs to 1000 lbs. It is also filled with 8 to 12 inches of sterile water.
Before the treatment commences, the water is heated to 94.2 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around the same temperature of a human body. The treatment is carried out in float rooms, which are soundproof and has no light.
How does it work?
The treatment is aimed to remove all external stimuli, which can exacerbate anxiety and depression.
When the body is deprived of sensory stimuli, it undergoes a deep meditative like state. The spine decompresses while the limbs and the entire body relaxes. This releases all the tension in the muscles as well as joints.
It is known to relax the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. It results in a substantial reduction in the level of cortisol, which is infamous for being the stress hormone. The level of blood pressure also decreases significantly.
How can float therapy benefit those with anxiety and depression?
Because of the promising results shown by float therapy, many medical practitioners incorporate it into the treatment of mental health. Float therapy is now used in the treatment of PTSD. War veterans, in particular, are benefiting from it.
Let us see how this alternative treatment benefits those with anxiety and depression.
- Reduced level of anxiety.
Inside the float pods, also called isolation tanks, there is a significant drop in the level of blood pressure, heart rate as well as cortisol. In such a conducive environment of total relaxation and safety, levels of anxiety are reduced.
In recent studies, it has shown that other symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as disruptive sleep and mood swings, also showed significant improvements while undergoing float therapy.
- Relaxation is enhanced.
The physical, as well as the physiological functions, combine to increase relaxation in the body and mind while floating. The right temperature of the water and the high concentration of salt create a suspended feeling.
In this relaxed state, the mind enters a theta state. This is a precarious state of mind between the conscious and the subconscious. It is experienced moments before falling asleep and while awakening. It is also achieved by those who practice deep and prolonged meditation.
All of these factors combine to enhance the relaxation of the mind and the body.
- Overall improvement in the quality of life.
It is very common for people dealing with depression and anxiety to be withdrawn and isolated. These negative emotions can have a huge impact on the quality of life of an individual.
Undergoing float therapy has been proven to improve the overall quality of life. A combination of physical and mental wellness makes the person better equipped to deal with mental health issues.
Float therapy is also known to relieve physical pain, such as the ones caused by traumatic injury. Individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses can also benefit from the floating sessions.
Practitioners of float therapy have also been known to quit smoking, which adds to the overall well-being. There are reduced chances of resorting to drugs or other habits. The quality of sleep improves, and there are less negativity and frustration.
- Long-term benefits.
Undergoing a single session of float therapy has been known to have a positive effect on the patients for up to three days. With continued floating sessions, patients can expect improved health and reduction of anxiety for more extended periods.
Where can I undergo float therapy?
Float therapy has become a complementary treatment in a lot of mental health clinics. So if you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety, the first place you can seek float therapy is a medical center.
However, there are many places which offer float therapy sessions. These include float spas, float cabins, and float clinics.
Some of the practitioners of float therapy love floating so much that they have even taken to buying float tanks for regular use at home. If you are confident and know that float therapy can improve your life, you can also purchase one for yourself and indulge in regular floating from the comfort of your home.
In case you are interested, the float pod price will be determined by the type of the tank. Therefore do some researches before you invest in one.
What is the duration of a float therapy session?
Float sessions vary from one spa or clinic to the next. Some offer one hour sessions while others offer ninety minutes to two-hour sessions. The duration of the sessions typically depends on the comfort and level of treatment. Regular floaters can comfortably float up to 2 hours while first-time floaters may be comfortable with a sixty-minute float session.
From the studies and the testimonies of those who have undergone float therapy; it is easy to see why sensory deprivation can alleviate anxiety and depression. It does not involve taking medication or dealing with side effects.
This alternative treatment is going head to head with psychotherapy in the field of mental health. As an increasing number of researchers and psychologist continue to delve deeper into its dynamics and benefits, the future of float therapy and anxiety seems destined to be closely intertwined.